The human species has developed the capacity to change the morphology of natural environments to give way to urbanization and thus shape new relationships between biological systems and technology. By the same token, it has used these relationships to dominate and manipulate the environment in order to generate progress that, from an anthropocentric perspective, has been measured for decades by economic growth. To guarantee the supplies that urban settlements need today, complex infrastructures must be built, based on colonising, extractive and linear principles in terms of the ecological materials that comprise them.


The Master in Design for Distributed Innovation (MDDI) is a distributed learning program focused on the intersection of design, technology, ecosystems and communities to improve interspecies wellbeing. MDDI combines the internationality of the Fab City Foundation with the pedagogical expertise of Fab Lab Barcelona and the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. With the support of the Fab Lab Network, the program delivers the next frontier in global education: project driven, context aware, and hands on.

The distributed learning model allows scholars to learn and practice in their own context, whilst giving access to lectures, experiences and knowledge online, delivered by a global network of experts, institutions and peers. By establishing projects within their own communities, MDDI students are part of personal and real-world transformation, while being part of a global network of change-makers who are navigating complex systems in order to bring about a paradigm shift in our current socio-economic model.


MDDI Multilayer and Scalable Methodology

MDDI is designed using the multiscale approach outlined by the Fab City global initiative. This layered approach forms the basis of the program, framing the methodological approach to conceptualizing transformational change.

Fab City Full Stack

The Fab City Full Stack is a working taxonomy developed by the Fab City Foundation to organize and implement projects at different scales. Composed of complementary and non-linear layers for cities, regions and towns, to make the Fab City implementation in a multiscalar and ecosystemic approach operational. Each interconnected layer is a space of practice and deployment, scaling Fab Lab experiences to a bioregional level in a systemic approach.

Connecting through Platform Ecosystems: Repositories of projects for urban transformation. Distributed and decentralized repositories and value exchange mechanisms for global collaboration. Fab Chain, the blockchain project to enable distributed design and manufacturing within Fab City.

Applying Bioregional Development: Shared metrics to assess progress towards local production in cities and their bioregions. Policy formulation, regulation, and planning for regenerative urbanization.

Cultivating Networks of Communities and Cities: Global urban transformation programs related to the local production and processing of food, energy, water, information or other production systems. Implementation and deployment strategies by Fab City Collective.

Developing Shared Urban and Territorial Strategies: Actions at the neighborhood scale, town scale, and rural areas. Development of Fab City prototypes where innovations can be tested and iterated on-site, feeding back to the larger scales in cities, regions, and globally.

Enabling Impact-based Incubation at Local Scale: Programs to support innovation in regenerative technologies, harnessing the power of Fab Labs as a distributed knowledge network to visualize, design and create open-source technology for urban transformation.

Design New forms of Learning Skills of the Future: Creation of distributed programs that offer opportunities for the development of skills to learn by doing principles, the basis of lifelong learning. The Academy of Almost Anything (Fab Academy, Bio Academy, Fabricademy), STEAM education and professional training.

Developing Distributed Infrastructure for Local Production: People, communities, spaces (Fab Labs, Makerspaces, Hackerspaces), machines, tools, flexible factories, installed industrial capacity, material libraries. There are already thousands of spaces and communities in all the main and medium-sized cities of the world.


The Master is a project-based program structured in three modules plus a final project implementation. Each module will develop different layers of the Fab City Full Stack, oriented to different student profiles, contents and curricular objectives.

With a diverse international Faculty team including researchers, activists and practitioners from all over the world, MDDI is structured over a methodology to deconstruct complex problems through a systemic approach to identify different but interconnected design opportunities. Connecting the scales of infrastructures, communities, cities and bioregions, to create sustainable and productive cities through design.


MDDI Distributed Approach

To transition to a new production paradigm, design takes on a new role in the constellation of planetary crises that have been caused by our current industrial model, through which design originally became a revered discipline. Design education has been based on those colonial foundations and globalized ideals of the past. A shift is needed towards how we learn to, from and with design by imagining new processes to reconfigure the relationship between humans and the natural ecosystems around them, and methodologies and approaches rethought to learn and understand how to design from and for diverse contexts.

Using the success of the distributed learning program, Fab Academy as a basis, MDDI creates a global campus where nodes offer students access to fab lab facilities to prototype and bring ideas to life. Creating a 21st century digital education network of design, technology and bioregional principles the program blends the best of digital and physical learning environments. By offering an international accredited program, MDDI enables a global network to pursue the purpose of the Fab City global initiative to change the global production and design system through a professional formation.

MDDI is a practical program based on emergent theoretical approaches based on the experience of Fab Lab Barcelona, IAAC, the Global Fab Lab Network along with worldwide researchers and practitioners. Offering a novel learning experience, connecting faculty and students from all over the world with distributed infrastructure for digitally fabricating (almost) anything, generating a 21st-century educational platform aligned with contemporary digital-physical relationships, diversity,, globalization and localization.

Through these structures students will have the unique chance to learn online in their local cities from faculty, researchers, practitioners and students from all over the world, but at the same time to prototype and impact in their living places, by developing and implementing technology-based implementations of new technologies, design methodologies and implementation strategies.

Students will have access to digital manufacturing laboratories equipped with all the digital and analog prototyping tools and necessary infrastructure for the development of classes, assignments and projects. Also, to ensure the quality of the learning experience, compliance with the learning process and support in the development of students projects, each node will have local instructors who will be the articulators of this distributed learning network. Accompanying students in their process by providing practical and methodological support.

Fab City Distributed Learning Platform

The program will be taught within the distributed learning platform of the Fab City Foundation, where students will be able to review class recordings, review news and extracurricular activities, and interact with their classmates and teachers instantly or asynchronously.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Formats

Due to the time zone differences, nodes will offer the classes in Synchronous or Asynchronous formats, both supported by the Fab City Distributed Learning Platform:

Synchronous: nodes will follow live online classes in video-conference platforms, sharing a global campus at different time zones.

Asynchronous: classes will be recorded and immediately will be shared with nodes. Local instructors will present the videos to students in in-person mentoring sessions. In addition, there will be weekly live mentoring sessions with global instructors to review their work and project developments.

During the week, students will work on their personal and group assignments and projects supported by local instructors and in constant interaction with other students in the Fab City Distributed Learning Platform forums and chat rooms.


Do you believe in the power of distributed innovation?

The Master in Distributed Design for Innovation (MDDI) is a hybrid learning experience with remote and in-person content that you can take from different FabLabs around the world.

Eager to know more? Schedule a call with Josefina, MDDI Coordinator!